Google+ Consumer Psyche: January 2010


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gone wrong

Nine days is playing in my album. These lyrics hold me...

Dream of purple roses and the time
When we were the most
Could it be that I never let you go
And could you be the same girl I used to know
Cause I cant remember to forget
There's nothing here but a mountain, a pile of regret
You promised you would help me with the voices in my head
But some thing has gone wrong
Something has gone wrong
An empty space, but full of ache?
The perfect time for you to come and take
A thief in my home
I'm only gold, what should I be
A ransom paid in skipped heart beats to be
Not alone
Could it be that I never let you go
I wish you could be the same girl I used to know
Cause I can't remember to forget
There's nothing here but a mountain, a pile of regret
You promised you would help me with the voices in my head
But something has gone wrong
Something has gone wrong
I'm walking in the footsteps of the wounded and insane
Tryin? to find the darkness that's running through my veins
Something has gone wrong
Something has gone wrong
Cause I cant remember to forget
There's nothing here but a mountain, a pile of regret
You promised you would help me with the voices in my head
Something has gone wrong

Friday, January 29, 2010

India's rural inventors drive change

Mansukh Prajapati invented a first-of-a-kind refrigerator that is made out of terracotta, works without electricity, costs US$53 and is selling in the thousands. It's a sample of an innovation wave from rural and small-town India enriching the world with common-sense products.

Anil Gupta, a professor at India's premier business school, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, leads a pioneering tribe of technocrats working for no-frills change at the mass level, by harnessing knowledge wealth from economically weaker sections of society.

"Being economically poor does not mean being knowledge-poor," Gupta told Asia Times Online. "But the poor who are at the bottom of the economic pyramid are often considered as being at the bottom of the knowledge pyramid as well. Nothing could be further from the truth."

To prove the truth that wisdom does not depend on university degrees, Gupta's 21-year-old Honey Bee Network has compiled an unprecedented database of 140,000 innovations created by farmers, villagers and small-town inventors. Many have no formal education or technical training. Teams of Honey Bee volunteers scout across India to hunt out local innovations, inventions and traditional knowledge practices.

The Honey Bee Network of rural and small-town inventors, academics, scientists, entrepreneurs, policymakers and volunteers gather, pool, develop and share know-how from a mass-based, much-ignored source. India's heart beats in its villages, and the country is entering a phase of listening to its heartbeat.

Read full article here.

Tiger and dragon set to lead

India is capable of meeting the world’s rising expectations from the country, on the back of its growing prowess and ability to recover faster from situations like the financial crisis, global leaders from corporate and governments said here on Thursday.

“Yes, India is capable, India has has the will to do it,” Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said during a session on ‘Will India Meet Global Expectations’ at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.

Sharma said the world expects India to play a leadership role and lead the economic growth. “The world expects from India to provide leadership and growth in the 21st century...regional stability and peace, inclusive growth.” His views were supported by US Under Secretary of State (economics, energy and agricultural affairs) Robert D Hormats.

“India is a major player on global economic scene,” he said.

India has earned a position in the world by virtue of its dynamic economy, Hormats said, adding New Delhi plays an important strategic regional role. World’s leading communication conglomerate WPP’s Chief Martin Sorrel said, if one has to do business in South Asia, India and China could not be ignored. “India is becoming much more self-confident,” he said. Manvinder S Banga, President (Foods, Home and Personal Care) FMCG giant Unilever, UK, said, “The world is expecting more from India than what India expects from the world.”

“The world expects India to be part of solution for climate change,” he added.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Joy of freedom

Being in God's own country, Kerala, in Southern India is as joyous as it can be. Here is a Malayali song from the yore celebrating the spirit of the joy of freedom. Freedom from Power Mongers!

The lyrics are as follows:

Bharathamennal parin naduvil kevalamorupidi mannalla
jana kodikal namme namay mattiya janma grihamallo

Today is celebrated as the Republic day in India. A right that I am born with and haven't lived without, something I take for granted and am proud about. Happy Republic Day India. Here is also my prayer to free all those still oppressed and trodden to be free.

Monday, January 25, 2010

FMCG in India set to grow

THE 86,000 crore FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) sector in India is running full throttle and is expected to have a lot of action in 2010. As the fourth largest sector in the Indian economy, it is distinguished by a good distribution network and a strong competition between organised and unorganised segment. According to Financial Express, the sector will witness a growth of 15 per cent in 2010, compared to last year.

Present and the future

While the global economic ire consumed everyone in its fire, FMCG happened to be one area that stood tall and strong by overcoming its impact. Although the input costs were high, the sector didn’t witness any price rise in fairness/anti ageing creams, soaps and the likes. The Indian consumer continued to enjoy royalty and hence the sales saw a hike. The issue was balanced by downsising packaging. “The sector has coped well with recent challenges and grew by 15 per cent over the last year,” says industry chamber FICCI.

According to AC Nielson as reported by The Mint, the year 2009, also saw modern retail format stores and aggressive marketing which helped home-grown FMCG firms wrest market share from leader Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL). HUL’s share in the estimated Rs 8,000 crore personal care market fell to 44.5 per cent from about half last year, as others like ITC, Godrej and Wipro fought for space in markets like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat with a rural push, says AC Nielsen.

The sector saw rarely any merger and acquisition except for Wipro’s Rs 210 crore acquisition of United Kingdom’s Yardley. The optimism in Indian market was shown when PepsiCo, for the first time held its board meeting here. Its investments are up by another 100 million dollar from 500 million dollar that was announced last year.

Overall, the prospects of the FMCG sector remain good. According to FICCI, it has grown consistently during the last three to four years. The sector is expected to grow at 12 to 15 per cent over the next three to four years.

Monday blues: Thought

Someone once asked me "why do you always insist on taking the hard road?" and I replied "why do you assume I see two roads"?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Indian dressing

There is no such move towards austerity in India. Their mantra is the brighter and the more bling the better. Versace, Armani and Hermes are all reporting good demand and rising sales.

Clearly you need something special to stand out in the world’s biggest democracy. It may not be very democratic to swan around with a Hermes Birkin bag on the arm, but no doubt it gladdens the soul to be able to do so. Perhaps it is a nod to their forefathers, the maharajas, who were the last word in luxury. Maybe it is just a desire to dust off the saris.

It may be bad news for the purveyors of pink salwar kameez, but for the French and Italian designers it is only good news, particularly as their traditional markets in America and Europe remain depressed.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Love me tender

Elvis croons from my Ipod and it is an awesome morning :) Here are the lyrics and link to the video.

Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go.
You have made my life complete and I love you so.
Love me tender, love me true, all my dreams fulfill.
For, my darlin', I love you and I always will.

Love me tender, love me long, take me to your heart.
For it's there that I belong and we'll never part.
Love me tender, love me true, all my dreams fulfill.
For, my darlin', I love you and I always will.

Love me tender, love me dear, tell me you are mine.
I'll be yours through all the years till the end of time.
Love me tender, love me true, all my dreams fulfill.
For, my darlin', I love you and I always will.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Next hub of luxury consumption

Brands such as Cartier, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Armani and Versace are among the retailers that have entered India in the past two years to chase the country’s growing class of super rich.

Asia is fast emerging as the world’s largest market for luxury brands, accounting for as much as half of the total US$80 billion (Dh293.84bn) global luxury industry.

Data from Luxurion World 2009, a trade event focused on the luxury market that was held in Mumbai last November, showed that India’s luxury market is worth about $4.35bn and should grow to $30bn by 2015. “The luxury retail sector in India is at an all-time high,” said Mark Stepen, a consultant with the India Retail Forum who specialises in retail brand management. “This will be the next hub of luxury goods consumption.”

The World Wealth Report 2008, produced by the international IT and management consultancy Capgemini, said that India had 167,000 millionaires and that the number was growing steadily. The number of Indians with more than $1 million in net assets grew by a roaring 22 per cent in 2008 on the previous year, despite the recession. Additionally, 141,000 Indians belong to the so-called “super rich” category, earning more than 10m rupees (Dh797,286) a year.

A 2008 survey by the global management consultancy AT Kearney said Indians spent as much as $2.9bn on private jets, luxury homes, cars, yachts and art. They spent $953m more on luxury services and $377m on other high-end goods.

The luxury boom has debunked the myth that India is a rapidly growing market only for fast-moving consumer goods because of its conspicuously consuming middle class; that middle class accounts for less than 30 per cent of India’s 1.2 billion people.

The country’s “super rich” are a monied class largely comprising entrepreneurs, wealthy farmers and political middlemen whose fortunes depend on the domestic economy, which grew at 7 per cent even during the slowdown.

“Recession or no recession, there is no arguing the fact that there are Indian consumers with very fat pockets,” Mr Stepen said. His research shows that Lladro, a Spanish company dealing in exclusive porcelain figurines, grew by 75 per cent in the past financial year, while international brands such as Swarovski and Art d’Inox, dealing in crystals and home lifestyle products respectively, have grown by 25 per cent each.

But as the economy returns to growth, the recovery in business is swift, he says. In the past two months alone, business has grown by 15 to 20 per cent, and the company is considering expanding.

“For luxury retailers, the sky is the limit in India,” Mr Dewan said.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Delivering with excellence

Find a calling and then deliver.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” – Martin Luther King, Jr

From Seth's blog

Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 Best of the Best Survey

The latest survey released by luxury business site, Hurun Report, looks at the brands and places patronized by China’s richest people.

The 2010 Best of the Best Survey was based on the answers of 383 mainland Chinese millionaires with assets worth at least RMB10 million with 66 of those people surveyed having assets of at least RMB100 million.

Between April and November 2009, Hurun Report surveyed 383 Mainland Chinese millionaires, each with an asset of at least RMB 10 million (USD1.5 million). Among them 66 people have assets of at least RMB 100 million (USD 15 million). For the sixth year running, surveys were carried out on a one on one basis, making this the largest and most authoritative survey of its kind in China. The survey asked respondents for their ‘Preferred Brand’ from an alphabetical list of brands in each category together with an ‘Other’ option at the end for brands not covered in the list. For the Best Overall Luxury Brand, the question was open-ended. There were no options. The winner for each category was the brand with the most votes. Results compiled by Maxshare.

Read the full Hurun Report here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Not my own

Though much exalted in the Lord,
My strength is not my own;
Then let me tremble at His word,
And none shall cast me down.

--- William Cowper

Friday, January 15, 2010

Implementing strategy

Small drops maketh an ocean. This is very true when it comes to the strategy adopted to any firm. Each and every step, decision, policy has a measurable impact on how the firm’s strategy is going to get effected. In such a scenario, managers should be extremely cautious about what they are doing and how they are doing as they must keep the strategic objective as a guideline or beacon to guide their path towards it. Strategy adopted are critical as they affect the lifeline of the society and in many ways depict the choices made by their suppliers, customers and management.

Planning on paper is very easy, implementing it is not as easy, and succeeding while doing it is tough. So it is very important to have a strategic plan, draw up a strategy, objectives, goals and a solid implementation strategy. Inclusion of all the plans and breaking down them to small modules, assigning time lines for each task, appointing and delegating each module to responsible managers is very important. This would ensure that the progress is monitored and how it would affect the final objective.

Don't know how to do all this? Take a notepad, pencil and observe your mom working in the kitchen :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Purpose in life

Studies show benefits of spirituality and strong, supportive relationships. Money and happiness get all of the ink, but living with purpose might be the truest and straightest line to health and happiness. Researchers in the cutting-edge field of positive psychology ("hey, let's study what is good about our brains and behavior rather than all this dysfunction") have discovered individuals who feel a "meaningfulness" or purpose in life report less pain and reduced anxiety over a six-month period than volunteer subjects who score lower for meaning in their lives.

Other studies show purpose in life can significantly reduce stress and, in turn, discourage related substance abuse. Research also shows life purpose can decrease episodes of depression.

The studies reveal that finding purpose will not only extend life expectancy but also will allow a person to be more physically fit and active in later years, which makes growing older, well, more fun. The entire positive psychology movement, in its second full-steam decade now, is making a strong case for how feeling positive about your life can sustain and improve health.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Don't find fault, find a remedy --- Henry Ford.

Speaking of finding faults, last few days I was in touch with few of my friends who are all gearing up for pongal holidays and most of them echo the same feeling. Lack of motivation, encouragement and of course unfulfilled promises from their organizations. Of course many companies have cut bonuses and some have even cut salaries. More than the pitch that there is no rise or profile changes which were promised, what everyone felt was that there is a serious lack of recognition and appreciation for the work being done. This meant there were no 'Thank You's, 'Good Job!'s , pats on the back from the manager.

What would a word of or gesture of appreciation do to an employee? A lot. Not that this would mean your bank balance would increase but it goes a long way in shaping up one's confidence and morale. Often this is observed in firms where managers do not appreciate people for the work they do but don't spare the stick when required. You aren't a leader if you don't have people working for you and not for the greens. You aren't a leader if you fail to appreciate and let the person know that his contribution is noted. This would ensure the motivational levels are high and efficiency increases. Or else you are dead rubber.

Instead of finding fault with everything that he does, try and be supportive in times of failure( I know that you need to be firm sometimes and that is acceptable) and ensure that you appreciate a positive outcome. Managers should realize that they are dealing with people, not machines or numbers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rain in its season

Had an excellent vacation and am back to blogging. Let me begin with the promises I got for this year, which incidentally is the year of the Tiger :)
  1. "I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit" --- Leviticus 26:4
  2. "Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence" --- Psalms 91:3
At every turn in life God gives you a chance to choose between good and bad, love and hate and what you choose determines the outcomes and blessings you have in store. All my life, every time I had a choice, I chose love, faith, trust and compassion and I agree that I have never left alone. I suggest you try the same this year. Choose love, bear pain with a smile on your face, spread love, joy and happiness wherever you go. Try and change the lives of people, processes, things after you touch. Don't be a crossover, be a bridge to betterment. Be the change you expect others to be. Give someone a chance to realize their dreams, potential, help them grow. Choose the right choices.

The greatest treasures on Earth are invisible to our eyes but found by the heart. There is a time for everything and this is a time to build, a time to heal, a time to embrace, a time to keep and a time to mend. 30 years down the line, you will find, as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the ones you have done things in a spirit of love. You never know which ones would turn out to be your Promising Moments!